What is Taekwondo?
Taekwondo (also spelled as Tae Kwon Do) is a Korean martial art, the national sport of South Korea and an Olympic event since 2000. It can be translated as “The Way of Striking with Feet and Hands.”
Taekwondo kicks are usually what come to mind when people think of this martial art, but it is also a martial art utilizing blocks, punches, and kicks from mobile and stationary stances. Some Taekwondo schools also use open hand strikes, leg sweeps, joint locks, throws and knowledge of pressure points.
There are two main styles of Taekwondo: traditional and sport, both emphasizing leg kicks due to their power and striking range.
A number of Taekwondo Associations exist, with the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and the International Taekwondo Association (ITA) being two of the largest.
History of Taekwondo
Modern Taekwondo has developed from a lineage of fighting styles stretching back to the beginning of Korean history in the ancient kingdoms of Goguryo, Baekje and Silla.
It is said that the mountainous regions of Northern Korea resulted in Goguryo Kingdom’s warriors having very powerful legs which they adapted in early fighting styles such as Subak and then later Taekkyeon as practiced by Sillan warriors known as the Hwarang.
Confucian and Taoist philosophies were incorporated into these fighting styles. The five principles of loyalty, filial duty, trustworthiness, valor and justice were promoted.
Philosophy of Taekwondo
Taekwondo emphasizes building a better world through promoting justice and freedom. Its philosophy has deep roots in Korean and Chinese culture, drawing from ancient Asian concepts of “Eum” and “Yang” (yin and yang) and life in an eternal dance of balance through change. Taekwondo students aim to better themselves through diligent training and right thinking.
Taekwondo as Self-Defense
Taekwondo emphasizes kicks to keep potential attackers as far away from the body as possible. In close combat, the hands come into play with either open, closed or grappling defense/attacks. Lightning fast movements from a constantly moving target make a proficient Taekwondo student very hard to attack.
Taekwondo for Kids
Taekwondo is a very popular martial art for children, with numerous Taekwondo Academies existing throughout most North American cities.
Practicing patterns (or forms), sparring and board breaking combined with a belt system similar to that of Judo and Karate, students also learn the values of discipline, justice, respect and self-confidence.
Taekwondo for Adults
For those interested in developing and maintaining excellent cardio, stretching and co-ordination, Taekwondo offers a system of great benefit. It is also a very family friendly martial art.
Taekwondo Associations & Resources:
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